On an Egged bus, over the fields and through the hills to Jerusalem we go.
It’s crowded: The kids each have a seat — she’s sitting next to a soldier with long brown hair and smiling eyes, and he’s next to a soldier with a knitted kippa and hearing aids. And I’m standing in the aisle between both.
The driver just dimmed the lights and only the gloaming makes our edges silver and pink.
And it’s quiet on the bus: a sleepy, end-of-day quiet except for an occasional SMS alert or a cough or the purr of the engine over the bumpy road.
And my daughter asks me to tell her again why we are going to Jerusalem on a Thursday — I haven’t taken them in years, not since we went to the Western Wall for the first time, when each baby was still a baby, my son strapped around my waist and my daughter, sleepy and buttery soft.
“It’s Thanksgiving,” I say. “And we are going to celebrate at the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem.”
“And we should be grateful,” she says. “For all the big things and little things we have.”
“Like my seat on the bus,” my son says.
“Or my colored pencils.” my daughter says.
“Or our whole family.”
“Or Pravda the Cat.”
And on this quiet bus over the fields and through the hills to Jerusalem we go, my son begins to sing the song they both love in his sweet piercing voice:
“Toda al kol ma she’barata, toda al am she’li natata…”
“Thank You for all You created… Thank You for all You have given…”
And just as I’m about to turn to him and say “shhh, people need quiet right now,” I realize that there are others on this bus singing along with him.